In our news wrap Wednesday, the Federal Reserve cut short-term interest rates for the third time this year, in an expected bid to strengthen the economy. But Chair Jerome Powell signaled that further reductions are on hold amid an outlook for “moderate growth.” Also, in the impeachment inquiry, reaction to the Tuesday testimony of Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman broke mostly along party lines.
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In the day's other news: The Federal Reserve cut short-term interest rates for the third time this year, in a bid to strengthen the economy. The quarter-point cut was expected.
But Fed Chair Jerome Powell signaled that further reductions are on hold.
I have given you a sense of what our outlook is. It's for moderate growth, a strong labor market, and inflation near our 2 percent objective. If something happens to cause us to materially reassess that outlook, that's what would cause us to change our views on the appropriate stance of policy.
The Central Bank had raised rates four times last year.
On impeachment, there was new fallout from Tuesday's testimony by an Army lieutenant on the White House National Security Council staff. Alexander Vindman was on the July phone call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine.
In his closed-door deposition, Vindman said the White House summary of the call omitted references to former Vice President Biden and corruption in Ukraine.
Reaction today broke mostly down party lines.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.:
I have read the transcript. And if you add his corrections, it doesn't change anything for me.
There were a lot of people on the call, and these are the only corrections I have seen. And, to me, they're — they don't change the substance at all.
Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill.:
What he's raised, though, is an important issue. And that is whether or not the summary of the transcript is complete. And the fact that it went to a secret server very quickly tells me there are political forces at work here that didn't want the world to see what was in the amended transcript.
Meanwhile, U.S. House impeachment investigators asked former National Security Adviser John Bolton to testify next week. Committees conducting the inquiry heard today from two Foreign Service officers. They hear tomorrow from Tim Morrison, the top Russia expert on the National Security Council staff.
A senior administration official tells the "NewsHour" late today that Morrison has resigned ahead of his deposition, but that he — quote — "has been considering doing so for some time."
The number two official at the State Department says that he doesn't know of any attempts by President Trump to have Ukraine investigate the Bidens. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan testified today at his Senate confirmation hearing to be the ambassador to Russia. He said he was unaware of any pressure on Ukraine.
But New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez pressed the point.
Sen. Robert Menedez, D-N.J.:
Do you think it's ever appropriate for the president to use his office to solicit investigations into domestic political opponents?
Soliciting investigations into a domestic political opponent, I don't think that would be in accord with our values.
Sullivan said he had known that Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, worked to remove the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from her post. Marie Yovanovitch was recalled last March. Sullivan said he didn't think that she had done anything wrong.
The Pentagon today released video of the Saturday raid that killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The images show Special Forces assaulting his compound in Northwestern Syria. Later, bombs destroyed the site. U.S. officials say that al-Baghdadi blew himself up, and two children died with him. They initially had said that three children were killed.
In Syria, state-run media report that government troops have clashed with Turkish forces in Northeastern Syria. It happened near Ras al-Ayn. That's a town that Turkey seized from Syrian Kurdish-led forces this month.
Meanwhile, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that some Kurdish fighters are still in a so-called safe zone along the border. He warned them to withdraw, or face a new Turkish assault.
Facebook says that it has removed dozens of pages and accounts that were part of a Russian disinformation campaign in Africa. The company says they were linked to a Russian oligarch accused of interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
And in Washington, FBI Director Christopher Wray told a congressional hearing that Russia means to meddle again in next year's election.
Some of the things that the Russians have tried in other countries, we expect them to try to do here as well, which puts the premium on the point that I was making before about our working with — on the foreign influence side, working with the social media companies in particular to really get them to keep upping their game as part of the defense.
In its announcement, Facebook said that it took down nearly 200 accounts, with more than one million followers, across eight African nations.
Twitter announced today that it will ban all political advertising on its service starting November 22. The company said that such ads on social media make it too easy to spread messages. By contrast, Facebook said this month it will not fact-check political ads.
Chicago and its teachers union may have a deal to end a school strike. The union says that it will submit a tentative agreement to its members tonight if the city agrees to make up lost school days. Teachers have been on strike 10 days, demanding better pay and smaller classes.
And on Wall Street, stocks got a bit of a bump from the Fed's interest rate cut. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 115 points to close at 27186. The Nasdaq rose 27 points, and the S&P 500 added nearly 10.